August 23, 2011

Daily Dot Launches as Community Newspaper for the Web

An online newspaper billing itself as “the hometown newspaper of the World Wide Web” made its debut Tuesday in a daring bid to prove that there’s still more of the social web to cover.

Under the direction of former Valleywag editor Owen Thomas, The Daily Dot pledges to cover the biggest online communities — think Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Reddit and Etsy — in the style of a hometown newspaper.

What that entails is sharing stories from members of those communities. Expect articles on Reddit to be authored by an active Redditor; stories in YouTube will come from bonafide vloggers.

The site has been operating in private beta for the past few months, averaging 15 to 20 articles per day in addition to a weekly newsletter.

Some of those stories have already attracted widespread notice — particularly this infographic by senior editor/hacker Grant Robertson (disclosure: he’s engaged to Mashable‘s Christina Warren), which breaks down the top linkers (“hunters”) and commenters (“gabberers”) on the highly active discussion board, and this article about the proliferation of Casey Anthony-themed merchandise on Etsy around the time the verdict for her case was announced.

Going niche has worked before: Nick O’Neill sold and to Mediabistro‘s parent company WebMediaBrands in late 2009. Unlike O’Neill’s sites, however, which were positioned as resources for marketing and small business professionals, the Daily Dot will focus on reporting what’s happening within these communities for members of those communities — as well as for those who want to know what’s happening without participating themselves.

CEO Nicholas White, formerly a VP of audience development at Sandusky Newspapers, was vague when questioned about the site’s value to advertisers. “We think we can put together a special audience … influencers with enormous followings,” he said.

The Daily Dot has amassed $600,000 in funding thus far. No launch advertisers have been named at this time.

 -by Lauren Indvik,

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